Asperger's Syndrome in Young Children: A Developmental Guide for Parents and Professionals

By Laurie Leventhal-Belfer; Cassandra Coe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
The Ongoing Journey

The journey that parents and professionals travel in understanding the inner world of the young child with Asperger's Syndrome is as challenging as it is encouraging. Our desire in writing this book was to provide a developmental framework for understanding these children and the interventions that will best serve them and their families. Our second goal was to provide a book that would support the professionals who work with and admire these children. Parents and professionals both have the difficult task of maintaining the essence of the whole child while at the same time clearly delineating the child's strengths and weaknesses in order to develop and implement interventions. Our understanding of what is reasonable to expect of a young child both at home and in a school setting can be somewhat subjective and culturally prescribed, yet therein lies the work for parents and professionals. They must determine when they should be concerned about a child's social development and what meaning to make of the child's behavior.

In the first five chapters we provided a framework for understanding the rich world of young children and how these children with Asperger's Syndrome may experience their developmental changes and the assessment process, and how families may cope with the diagnosis. Diagnosing young children is controversial and because of the sensitivity so many clinicians have about the varied nature of development, many clinicians hesitate to provide a diagnosis until the child is older. However, in our experience a diagnosis provides a framework for developing a shared understanding of the child's areas of developmental strength and difficulty and acts to guide and inform people so that behavior is not misunderstood and appropriate interventions can be obtained. Since these young children can have so many strengths, and their awkwardness in social situations may not always be obvious, teachers and clinicians not involved in the evaluation process may lose sight of the diagnosis. In this case, it often falls to the parents to help others learn how to

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